Calow Brothers talk to Level 1 Creative Arts and Media students

Robert and David Calow are local Leicester concept artists, who have been working in the commercial design industry since the mid 1980s. The twins visited Gateway College earlier this year to speak to our Level 1 Creative Arts and Media students. They answered our students’ questions about art and design, and they talked about how they both started their personal career journeys.

The Calow brothers are not just industry-known artists but they also hold the title of Gateway Alumni. They both attended Gateway Boys Schools back in the 1970s.  Their interest and talent in art and design from their education at Gateway was thereafter pursued at Loughborough College, where they studied the Art foundation course. 

They enrolled onto the degree course at Leeds Polytechnic, graduating in BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration in 1983.

At their end of year degree show at Leeds Polytechnic, a whole host of employers from the art and design industry were invited. Robert was offered a job in York, he recalls in starting salary at £3,600 during that time. David’s drawing skills from a portrait lead him to his first commercial job in advertising.

The brothers also emphasised to our students about the importance of sketchbooks as they contain the best source of information about the artist. A sketchbook is always essential at an interview for an art related job or course.

Robert specialises in illustration and David is an expert in design and visualisation.

Here is a list of some of the many projects that the brothers together and individually have worked on:

  • They joined the Guild of Aviation artists in the early 2000s, so majority of their work consists of aviation art and publications. They have exhibited at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London and one of the brothers has received a Fellows Award for his submitted illustration work.
  • Thornton’s Chocolate packaging
  • Architecture design for a house in Market Harborough, Leicestershire
  • Various artists’ impressions for architecture designs
  • Illustration for Basics products at Morrisons supermarket
  • Cartoon characters for greetings’ cards
  • Drawings of military tools, telescopes and mortars

Art leads to many things  – “the world is your oyster”

Robert and David, together, were proudly offered the opportunity to work on the redesign of the Gateway College building during its relocation to Hamilton back in 2009. They could not refuse the offer, after all they have wonderful memories of being students at Gateway!

Using CGI and digital files, they developed concept drawings of the exteriors and interiors of the main college buildings.  The construction work started in 2008.

Their illustrations were used on print advertising to announce the opening on the college in August 2009.

A significant piece of advice that the brothers passed onto our students was that they should all continue to drawing and develop art if it is something they enjoy and where their strengths are.

Find out more about the Level 1 Creative Arts and Media course here at Gateway Sixth Form College, that is part of the Learning for Life and Work programme –